Review: Soulfly – Archangel

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I’m a big fan of songs that wear their Metal heart on their sleeves – Priest’s “Metal Gods”, Metallica’s “Metal Militia”, Steel Panther’s “Death to all but Metal” and Manowar’s entire back catalogue. No, I lie…I can’t stand Manowar. But still – if the title of the song has METAL in the title then it does it for me. Especially when it slaps you across the face, kicks you in the gut and leaves you out of breath.

So with that said – “We Sold Our Souls To Metal” is added to that list. Bloody hell – in your face right from the start, Max Cavalera opens up with a choice guttural growl to match the riff. And it doesn’t let up. This one has gone straight in to my list of ‘favourite sub 3 minute metal tunes’ and has to be a set opener in the future…..which is probably why the tour to support this album is entitled the “We Sold Our Souls To Metal Tour”

Over the years Soulfly have had several genres thrown at them – are they Nu Metal? Doom? Thrash? Death? Fuck it – the perfect genre to put them is simply metal. Case closed.

After trying to catch my breath (and listening to the song again because it’s so much fun) we move on to the title track of Soulfly’s tenth studio album, “Archangel” – full of atmosphere, this fully sets the tone for the album. Heavy, groovy & meaty.

“Sodomites” then opens up with a growled spoken word vocal – when I heard the words, I had to research it as it sounded biblical and it was indeed. Quite apt, as the song is too – in subject matter as well as musically. Lyrically, the album draws heavily from the Old Testament – but don’t call it Christian metal OK?!

3 songs into this album and it just hasn’t let up at all – the only respite found is between each song, with the calmer interludes tying things together quite well. It’s difficult to avoid a Sepultura reference when Soulfly are involved, but it has to be done – this album is reminiscent of the way Roots is put together and that is in no way a bad thing at all.

“Ishtar Rising”, “Live Life Hard” and “Shamash” continue the relentless pace, and while not bad songs at all, they have a feeling of needing a few listens. Potential growers, if anything.

We then arrive at “Bethlehems Blood” which opens with a guitar riff that is almost Black Metal in feel – the use of a horn during the track adds to that feeling. This, for me, is the standout track on the album within seconds of hearing the opening and it pays dividends as it progresses. Take a bow, Soulfly – a cracking track. After that, I was expecting a down turn in quality but luckily “Titans” is up next and it doesn’t suffer as a result of following “Bethlehems Blood”

“Deceiver”, unfortunately, is an almost instant skipped song – it just doesn’t feel like it belongs on the album. Closer “Mother of Dragons” is another grower, not having an immediate impact with me at all but at least it didn’t make me want to skip back to the first track.

While this album doesn’t do anything new that could change how metal develops, it’s a really strong chapter in Soulfly book – if that book ended now, it’s a fitting closer. But nah….write a few more chapters at least.

Finally, I have to say thank you to Soulfly as they’ve kept me sane for the last few days – a short notice work requirement for me to go to Macclesfield for a week long project had resulted in me not bringing any music with me other than this one single album. I did get some strange looks on the train up, as I couldn’t help it with the head-nodding but stuff it. It is indeed a grower, and those earlier mentioned potential growers do hit the mark.

See you on the tour. Well… the next one!

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